Highly impressed by China`s cultural and historical attractions following a week-long trip to the country, Hellenic Tourism Organisation (EOT) general secretary Evgenios Yiannakopoulos...
He headed an EOT delegation which recently visited China on the invitation of
the Chinese National Tourism Administration (CNTA). Yiannakopoulos met with his Chinese counterpart, along with other representatives, to discuss the EOT initiative, which he said would proceed rapidly so that it may soon become a reality.
Greece is among the first EU member-states seeking to establish a tourism base in China, he stressed. Pointing out that Chinese who wish to travel abroad can only visit those countries the government officially classifies as tourist destinations, Yiannakopoulos said that Greece was in the process of applying to be included on this list. China, in view of the sheer size of its population, the expansion of its economy and the future growth in its people`s wealth, is among the countries EOT has targeted as a new market offering limitless potential in the long-term.
Yiannakopoulos pointed out that Beijing alone has 13 million citizens while Shanghai`s population is even bigger at 16 million.
According to the World Tourism Organisation, China will become one of the world`s most popular destinations within the next 20 years. We can expect to see great changes in the global tourism picture, he noted. While the numbers of Chinese who travel abroad are still low, the level of domestic tourism is very high. For example, Shanghai hosts 70 million domestic arrivals each year.
Indeed, Shanghai`s tourism authority expressed especial interest in having EOT`s office based in China`s commercial centre. The Chinese people have a great respect for and love for Greeks, knowing that we both have long histories. They feel this historical link very strongly, Yiannakopoulos said.
In a gentle nudge apparently directed at Greece`s archaeological conservation
bodies, he spoke in glowing terms of China`s famed army of ancient life-sized
terracotta soldiers, located in the city of Xi`an, which he said was most carefully excavated and presented in a unique way.
EOT also issued an invitation for CNTA officials to visit Greece.